Jul 10

ROBIN BECK – “First Time”

Popular68 comments • 3,441 views

#619, 19th November 1988, video

Minor Popular milestone alert! This is the very latest song that I had no recollection of whatsoever before starting this project. Never saw the advert, never heard the record. So I’d have been really happy if this had been an unexpected delight, or even a minor pleasure. As it is the only unexpected thing about “The First Time” is its attempted fake-out: you think it’s going to be one kind of bad song (vaguely motivational ballad) and instead it’s another (vaguely agonised power ballad).

The latter doesn’t have to be bad, mind you – but “First Time” doesn’t go beyond its one selling point, the breathless surge at the end of the chorus. It’s a schlocky moment but as the climax to a 30-second TV spot it’s effective – though you’d hope hearing “I Love You” for the very first time would merit more than a can of pop. Repeat it several times over a single and it just seems a bit profligate, each peak a little smaller than the one before until the record fizzles out completely.



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  1. 51
    punctum on 22 Nov 2010 #

    Chart also featured on Saturday’s POTP; then, as now, bore little if any relation to November ’88 as I knew and experienced it musically but overall not a bad chart. Four of the top five were by female artists, which is something to be noted. “Can You Party” and “We Call It Acieed” not played, but we are talking Radio 2. I fell asleep to Chris de Burgh’s “Missing You,” though. From a number one album oh bugger.

  2. 52
    Mark G on 22 Nov 2010 #

    You’ve been very even-handed about every Number one album so far, but I have wondered what’s going to happen when you get to those “o buggr” albums, the likes of which I could list but won’t…

    (so far there haven’t been any, have there?)

  3. 53
    punctum on 22 Nov 2010 #

    My policy on TPL is to be as fair and open-minded as possible about every album I have to listen to, even unto three George Mitchell Minstrels discs. Some of the stuff coming up in the seventies is going to present a challenge – predominantly the TV-advertised chart-toppers – but if I can make it through three soundalike covers albums then I’m ready for anything. After all, the “Lady In Red”/”Patricia The Stripper” man did have that Nick Drake in his school band once. There’s always a way.

  4. 54
    punctum on 22 Nov 2010 #

    (two albums by the Script, though; Jesus H Corbett…)

  5. 55
    Billy Smart on 22 Nov 2010 #

    I must say that I’m particularly looking forward to the TV toppers, especially at the end of a few years of Deep Purple and The Moody Blues. I know all of these albums well, and each one has a few neglected fantastic songs, however flimsy the package they came in.

  6. 56
    wichita lineman on 22 Nov 2010 #

    It seems like those TV albums, far from being comparable to the TOTP cash-ins, were a gateway drug for quite a lot of people on Popular. Me aged 14: “who is this Laurie Styvers with her fantastic non-hit Beat The Reaper? I must dig deeper and find out. I must.” K-Tel, Ronco, Arcade. Very important to me.

  7. 57
    punctum on 23 Nov 2010 #

    Oh no, I didn’t mean the K-Tel etc. ORIGINAL RECORDINGS BY ORIGINAL ARTISTS sets – I’m very much looking forward to tackling these, especially 20 Dynamic Hits, which allows me to sneak in discussion on a Hugely Important Album Of The Era (whose lead single is featured) – I meant more the old school entertainers who get to dominate the lists round about ’75-’77 time at the expense of likelier contenders. I have plans, though; for instance, I can guarantee that my piece on Slim Whitman’s Red River Valley will be, um, unique.

  8. 58
    Jimmy the Swede on 23 Nov 2010 #

    I had that James Last in the back of my cab the other day. James Last – the man with only one facial expression.

  9. 59
    punctum on 23 Nov 2010 #

    Happily, or unhappily, James Last will not be troubling Then Play Long.

  10. 60
    Jimmy the Swede on 23 Nov 2010 #

    Oh? I was under the impression that Lasty had number one albums by the score. Perhaps he was uncharted on a technicality (ie outselling everyone else but his albums costing only half a crown). I’m probably wrong but you never had to look too far in the Woolies record section to find the c**t.

  11. 61
    wichita lineman on 23 Nov 2010 #

    Ahh… good, I was surprised that you were thinking of laying into 20 Dynamic Hits (Vol 1). Would the initials for the Hugely Important Album be MFTC or OY?

    I’ve got a lot of time for Slim’s slim list of hit 45s but must confess I’ve never sat down for a whole album session with him. As with popular I’m avoiding sneaking a peek at what’s next on thenplaylong. So I’m still somewhat in the (self imposed) dark over these TV advertised horrors.

  12. 62
    Billy Smart on 23 Nov 2010 #

    Re 61. Surely the hugely important album must be TARGO!

    Old joke – What’s the difference between The James Last Orchestra and a cow? A cow has the horns at the front and the arsehole at the back.

  13. 63
    wichita lineman on 23 Nov 2010 #

    Re 62: Oh yes. Blimey, now I feel like Morrissey championing Herman’s Hermits over S&TFS… I think I’d still rather listen to the Move’s Message From The Country or Colin Blunstone’s One Year, though. Maybe Marcello will draw a parallel between TARGO and Slim Whitman – biggest selling yodeling records since Frank Ifield’s heyday.

  14. 64
    punctum on 25 Nov 2010 #

    To be fair Herr Last has appeared on TPL as the co-author of “Happy Heart,” as essayed by Andy Williams and Wee Neil Reid, but as an artist his best chart performance was Last The Whole Night Long, #2 in June ’79.

    It’s mainly going to be TARGO with a substantial side-order of OY and certainly MFTC won’t be disregarded. I get to write about 1968’s O&O too (featuring the singer on OY) thanks to K-Tel but more about that when I get there.

  15. 65
    punctum on 25 Nov 2010 #

    #62: hahah, I’ve variously also heard that gag being told about Kevin Rowland and Julian Cope!

  16. 66
    punctum on 31 Dec 2010 #

    20 Dynamic Hits innit.

  17. 67
    the pinefox on 31 Dec 2010 #

    I see that Ewing and others don’t remember this song, whereas they remember most other hits. I can’t identify with this experience: this song was big, I heard it a lot, I have never forgotten it, and indeed I have always quite liked it, or assumed that I quite like it. As #1s go I would want to give it at least 6 or 7. (I probably don’t like most #1s.)

    Admittedly I now haven’t heard the track in years.

    I think I like it also cos the girl in the picture on the cover is pretty, and indeed the boy looks OK also.

    As far as I can tell, no one here has talked about the fact that the record and the track on the advert are different – the advert says ‘coke is it’ and the record doesn’t. Or is my memory now the one going wrong?

    I don’t agree that this + Deacon Blue on totp makes ‘grim times for pop’ as Ewing says, because I find this tolerable or probably a bit nostalgically likeable and I like Deacon Blue, not least ‘real gone kid’ which was presumably the relevant track and which I think is quite magnificent as chart 45s go. That sounds like good times for pop to me. But in truth, I’m not sure most of us can ever really approve of a whole pop moment or era, rather than individual records and trends.

  18. 68
    DanH on 27 Jan 2013 #

    Never heard this until now. It sounds very 1988, from what I remember as a 4-5 year old kid hearing a lot of this kind of stuff on the radio. I’m surprised it didn’t do anything in America, but we were probably too preoccupied with stuff like “Waiting For a Star To Fall” instead ;-)

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